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Premier League 2021/22 Season: FPL Gameweek 1 Fantasy Forecast


Ahead of each Gameweek in the Premier League, The Hype Train's team - Robert Austin, Sam Austin and Phil Jones - compete for FPL and league standings supremacy in predicting Premier League scores, as well as going head-to-head in picking a Scout Picks squad for each round of games. We also comb over other relevant statistics, impressions and insight from around the game and the league to best navigate you through the weekly helping of fixtures. Welcome to the Forecast. All aboard.

Premier League 2021/22: Gameweek 1 Fixtures

Premier League 2021/22 Season: FPL Gameweek 1 Forecast

Enjoy our FPL Forecast article, with each of our team forecasting how we think the Premier League will shape up this upcoming Gameweek. If you agree or want to challenge us on our point of view, get in touch with us on our main Twitter account, @RealHypeTrain, or on Instagram!

Fixture Predictions: Gameweek 1

Brentford 2-1 Arsenal

Man United 2-0 Leeds

Burnley 1-1 Brighton

Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace

Everton 0-1 Southampton

Leicester 2-1 Wolves

Watford 1-3 Aston Villa

Norwich 0-3 Liverpool

Newcastle 0-2 West Ham

Spurs 1-3 Manchester City


FPL Forecasting: Gameweek 1


What are your basics of sustaining a season in FPL?:

· Don’t stress out about being overloaded with statistics.

· Take breaks from watching games. It can be exhausting.

· Don’t overthink your transfers.

· Less is more with the FPL. It is a game that doesn’t require a dozen hours of your attention every week.


What are the potential stumbling blocks to a good Gameweek?:

There are so many classic tropes.

· Rotation: People forget about rotation, especially around cup games, including the Champions League. Also, after so many times of your Man City players being rotated do you stop believing in them? People think players play all 38 games of the season and the reality is only a handful of players ever accomplish that, with only two or three of them completing every minute.

· ‘Expected’ Statistics: One of the biggest problems of assessing modern football is by trying to reduce it to basic numbers. For example some people see Robert Sanchez for Brighton starting strong due to underlying figures, but all it takes is one Burnley goal in GW1 to shatter peoples belief that having good statistic potential always guarantees points.

· Captaincy: Last year I had many blue star players in my team and had an abysmal year, mostly due to the fact my captaincy pick would always blank. I don’t think I had 15 captaincy returns last year, and the thing about that is that I didn’t pick any obscure or crazy pick. They were always the likes of Kane, Salah, Bruno; and then players with great records last year like Bamford and Gundogan. You could have ten players who do well, but fall behind players who had a good captaincy pick with a couple of other returns in their teams.

· Pricing / Budget Meta: Sorry, whoever in the FPL team has agreed to keep raising prices needs to be removed immediately. For three years running the prices of every player keeps skyrocketing, even if they get as much as a goal a season, and it is infuriating to plan a team as everyone is now going to be looking at the ‘best template teams’ and not deviating. This game is no longer about having the best picks, but rather whose template team becomes the budget meta of the season.

· Listening to bad advice: Sometimes you just must make the call yourself. There are so many people trying to sell you FPL materials that it can all be a rather messy jumble. The greatest joke of FPL culture is that people pay for it because the winner of the 2020/21 winner who preached about the validity of statistics actually said he won it by winging it and making gut call transfers. Stats are a great help to see who is performing, but always remember it is statistics based on past events, not the future.

· Not paying attention to the fixture: Statistics can’t factor in the heat of a derby, or realise the drabness of certain games. All statistical value can be thrown out of the window. Modern examples include the Manchester United vs. Liverpool game at Old Trafford has been a 0-0 draw for as long as I can remember. Man City have yet to win at Spurs new stadium, and Liverpool have gone undefeated at Stamford Bridge in league fixtures for most of the past decade. Arsenal and Spurs always draw at the Emirates, and Manchester United have found a habit of barely losing away at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. Even lower down the table you have a derby between Brighton and Palace which is always a thrilling encounter with lots of goals…so why would you consider a GK in such a fixture?

· Player Records versus Teams: There are players who have really good records against other teams in the league. For example, Luis Suarez was clinical against Norwich a few years ago. Every game had points for the forwards. Pay attention to any facts you find out about players who perform well again other clubs. A modern example is how Bruno Fernandes struggles to even register a return against other ‘Big Six’ clubs and is tailored to teams further down the table. Harry Kane against Leicester is a great example of a player with a great scoring record, or Firmino against Arsenal. There are player patterns in the FPL that defy any pre-existing logic or statistics.


Who are the teams to look out for and avoid?:

Watch: Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Leicester, West Ham

Avoid: Arsenal, Man City, Everton, Newcastle,

Undecided: Spurs, Burnley, Brighton, Watford


England vs. Rest of the World:

My real-life team is going to be an English team, the entire thing. There will be no foreign players, including other nations from the United Kingdom. I want to challenge myself this year and not overthink things. The only player who I believe I will miss is Mo Salah.


Why am I doing this? I am bored with the FPL. For the last few years, it has been who has the best template team, so I am throwing away the template and instead following on from a near-miss for England in the Euros I will be focusing my entire FPL team into tracking the 3 Lions players. There are lots of English players, and throughout the season I can see many formations used to accommodate injuries and breaks of forms.


I enjoyed picking my team as I had more budget to play around with because I wasn’t relying on the meta £12mil players. Last three years I have hated picking me team. Spending hours contemplating, looking at other teams, being undecided. But now, I felt great picking my FPL team. I know I won’t win it, but I would love to know where the English-only team can finish in the table.


In terms of fixtures the England team I have is actually very competitive for GW1 and beyond, with many players in top performing teams, I can see this being an interesting experiment.


My England XI for this year’s FPL is:

GK: Nick Pope


DEF: Aaron Cresswell (WHU)

DEF: Luke Shaw (MUN)

DEF: Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV)

DEF: Ben Chilwell (CHE)


MID: Jack Grealish (MCI) MID: Jadon Sancho (MUN)

MID: Harvey Barnes (LEI)


FWD: Ivan Toney (BRE)

FWD: Danny Ings (AVL) - (C)

FWD: Jamie Vardy - (VC)


Substitutes:


GK: Ben Foster (WAT)

MID: Jack Harrison (LEE)

MID: Emile Smith-Rowe (ARS)

DEF: Ben White (ARS)


I will still be doing a ‘normal’ forecast and Captain Picks. See below for that.

Captaincy Options:

Main: Mohamad Salah (Liverpool)

Vice: Danny Ings (Aston Villa)

Differential: Timo Werner (Chelsea)


FPL Differential Picks (GW1):

BRE/ARS: Bryan Mbeumo (BRE, MID, £5.5mil, 1.1% ownership)

MUN/LEE: Mason Greenwood (MUN, MID, £7.5mil, 5.8% ownership)

BUR/BHA: Nick Pope (BUR, GK, £5.5mil, 4.9% ownership)

CHE/CRY: Timo Werner (CHE, FOR, £9.0mil, 4.8% ownership)

EVE/SOU: Che Adams (SOU, FWD, £7.0mil, 2.0% ownership)

LEI/WOL: Ricardo Pereira (LEI, DEF, £5.5mil, 2.3% ownership)

WAT/AVL: Ismaila Sarr (WAT, MID, £6.0mil, 3.6% ownership)

NOR/LIV: Ibrahima Konaté (LIV, DEF, £5.5mil, 3.8% ownership)

NEW/WHU: Saïd Benrahma (WHU, MID, £6.0mil, 4.6% ownership)

TOT/MCI: Raheem Sterling (MCI, MID, £11.0mil, 3.2% ownership)


Differential Captain: Timo Werner (Chelsea)

My first pick of the season for differential captain is the German attacker, who will probably go under the radar now that Romelu Lukaku has signed for the club (again). Also, the fixture in question isn’t in question for the Blues. They host Crystal Palace who welcome Patrick Viera as their new manager, and if Chelsea don’t win this game, it will be a massive disappointment. Over the course of pre-season Ziyech has notched five goals and is looking ready to explode onto the scene this season.


FPL Scout Picks: Gameweek 1

Formation: 3-4-3


Starting 11


GK: Nick Pope (BUR)


DEF: Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV)

DEF: Luke Shaw (MUN)

DEF: Ben Chilwell (CHE)


MID: Saïd Benrahma (WHU)

MID: Bruno Fernandes (MUN)

MID: Riyad Mahrez (MCI)

MID: Mohamad Salah (LIV) - (C)


FOR: Jamie Vardy (LEI) – (VC)

FOR: Danny Ings (AVL)

FOR: Timo Werner (CHE)


Substitutes


GK: Emi Martinez (AVL)

MID: Emile Smith-Rowe (ARS)

DEF: Konstantinos Tsimikas (LIV)

DEF: Aaron Cresswell (WHU)

Fixture Predictions: Gameweek 1

Brentford 1-3 Arsenal Man United 2-1 Leeds Burnley 1-0 Brighton Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace Everton 1-0 Southampton Leicester 2-2 Wolves Watford 0-3 Aston Villa Norwich 0-2 Liverpool Newcastle 1-2 West Ham Spurs 1-4 Manchester City


FPL Scout Picks: Gameweek 1 Formation: 3-4-3


Starting 11


GK: Jordan Pickford (EVE)


DEF: Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV) DEF: Luke Shaw (MUN) DEF: Antonio Rudiger (CHE)


MID: Kai Havertz (CHE) MID: Jack Grealish (MCI) MID: Nicolas Pepe (ARS) MID: Mohamad Salah (LIV) - (C)


FOR: Danny Ings (VC) FOR: Jamie Vardy FOR: Michail Antonio (WHU)


Substitutes


GK: Edouard Mendy (CHE) MID: Bruno Fernandes (MUN) DEF: Konstantinos Tsimikas (LIV) DEF: Ruben Dias (MCI)

Fixture Predictions: Gameweek 1

Brentford 1-1 Arsenal

Man United 2-1 Leeds

Burnley 0-0 Brighton

Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace

Everton 1-0 Southampton

Leicester 2-1 Wolves

Watford 0-1 Aston Villa

Norwich 0-3 Liverpool

Newcastle 1-2 West Ham

Spurs 0-2 Man City


FPL Forecasting: Gameweek 1


What are your basics of sustaining a season in FPL?:

· Captaincy: The reason that Salah and Fernandes are templated picks are that they will cover your captaincy woes virtually all season. Both are on pens for their clubs and reliable FPL figures.

· When to Make Transfers: I try and wait until the very last minute to make transfers. Injuries during midweek games in domestic and European competition, as well as freak incidents at training, cause mayhem. Once press conferences are out of the way with I like to make as many assured decisions as possible.

· Take Hits if You Need It: If you’re team is going through the mill with injuries, taking a loss doesn’t have to be a bad thing. More often than not the transfers I put in would have made me more points than if leaving everything the same. Life is also too short to not take risks in, especially in a virtual game.

· ‘FPL Experts’ Don’t Exist (Yet): If you’re browsing social media and come across members of the FPL Community that are deemed as experts, that simply isn’t true. In life, we like to make celebrities out of people at the top of the charts, which is natural, but I see it as the commercial element of the game likes to fabricate these people and personalities in order to make money for their websites.

· ‘Expected Stats’: … Are the absolute worst. Real stats matter, not xG nonsense.

· Know your Deadlines: The number of times I see people miss the deadline because they’re not paying attention is very, very high. I missed the deadline once last season and ended up captaining Cesar Azpilicueta (CHE) in a Double Gameweek against Man United and Liverpool. Chelsea didn’t concede and Azpi was in the Dream Team

· Early Season ‘Hype’: Gameweek 1’s big performers will have a massive increase of ownership. Willian (ARS) got a trio of assists against Fulham last season, only to not get another assist. Sometimes it is best to leave your team as is for the first few weeks.

· Play Your Game: Lastly, a simple yet true statement. Just do your own thing and have fun with it – there’s nothing worse than people that copy other accounts teams.


What are the potential stumbling blocks to a good Gameweek?:

· It’s opening weekend, new and departing players creates new dynamics and line-ups for teams. FPL players won’t always get it right.

· Last minute signings can change plans for each team. Lukaku to Chelsea being a prime example.

· ‘Top 6’ clubs increasingly rotate. Nobody knows what Pep Guardiola will be fielding against Spurs on Sunday, so ensure you have some cover on the bench

· If Liverpool bomb at Norwich, it will likely be a low-scoring Gameweek. Leeds turning up at Old Trafford will cement a poor overall Gameweek.


Who are the teams to look out for and avoid?:

Chelsea (Watch): For an opening weekend, Chelsea have got a straight forward game that you’d like to think you can bank on in FPL as they host Crystal Palace. Havertz (£8.5m) and Mendy (£6.0m) are on the top of my list of considerations for this one.


Leicester (Watch): Brendan Rodgers pretty much told us what team he will be playing against Wolves on opening day at the King Power during the club’s Community Shield win over Man City. Daniel Amartey (£4.0m) might sneak in a game to start the season, but the move will be short-minded as the club are expected to announce Danish international, Jannik Vestergaard (£5.0m) any moment. Point is, the likes of Vardy, Maddison, Barnes, Pereira and co are all locked on and safe property to put in your team.


Southampton (Avoid): The Saints have had a lot of player turnover this summer and have recruited a lot of relative ‘unknowns’ this season. Adam Armstrong (£6.0m) is the most established attacking recruit to replace Danny Ings, whilst you have to be a devoted Chelsea supporter to know who Tino Livramento (£4.0m) or Armando Broja (£5.0m) are. With a tricky fixture list to start the campaign, this team is ‘wait and see’ territory.


Newcastle (Avoid): Surprise, surprise. A new season for my beloved Magpies and a summer of virtual no activity in the transfer window. Hopefully the club can get in Joel Willock from Arsenal, but that won’t be enough… I’ve seen a lot of FPL players on Twitter go with Callum Wilson (7.3% ownership), and I’m terrified that many are blinded by what looks like a few good fixtures to start the season. I’ll be avoiding my club like the plague – my gut feeling is telling me that we are going to have a long season and a tough opener against West Ham.


Brighton (Undecided): Talking of FPL players having their blinkers on, we move on to Brighton. An away day at Burnley (GW1) and subsequent home outing against Watford (GW2) has seen Robert Sanchez (£4.5m) start as the default ‘cheap’ keeper. Problem is, Brighton have sold Ben White and have limited options due to injury. This team needs one or two defenders in, for sure.


Aston Villa (Watch): Good fixtures to start the season, I’m tempted by Emi Martinez (£5.5m) more than anything, but aside from that only Ollie Watkins (£7.5m) or Danny Ings (£8.0m) are serious contenders to play. You’ll probably need a few Villa players in though to get by the first few weeks.


Liverpool (Watch): A triple-up of Liverpool playrs looks on the cards for most players. Some good fixtures and they go to Premier League whipping boys, Norwich, first.


Everton (Watch): A clear run of fixtures for Rafa Benitez’s team means that the likes of Jordan Pickford (£5.0m) or Lucas Digne (£5.5m) could have sustained runs in your FPL team. Higher up the pitch I’m unsure of just yet as DCL is a slight doubt and Richarlison is just back from the Olympics with his gold medal.


Arsenal (No Freaking Idea): The topic of Ben White (£4.5m) being a 4.5m paperweight just doesn’t sit well with me given that Arsenal have been in typically poor form in pre-season and look very light at both areas of the pitch. There is no back-up to Leno, a lack of fluidity in attack and looks like more of the same… That said, Brentford are an unknown force and I’m purely speculating here but looks like a good opportunity for an opening day win on Friday for the Gunners.


Top FPL player targets to start the season:

Disclaimer: I still think it is too early to make definite picks, as transfers and team news is still flooding in. I’ll be finalising my picks tomorrow afternoon once the final press conferences are out of the way. I will be tinkering with my team at some point before the deadline.


Goalkeepers:

Jordan Pickford (EVE), Edouard Mendy (CHE) and Emi Martinez (AVL) are the picks to go for, and then maybe the likes of Robert Sanchez (BHA) will be considered when you need the money.


Defenders:

There are some templated picks already forming – Luke Shaw (MUN), Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Ruben Dias (MCI), Ben White (ARS) and Lucas Digne (EVE)… Chelsea have the best fixture so would like to see Ben Chilwell play, whilst Joel Veltman (BHA) Konstantinos Tsimikas (LIV) come in as cheaper picks. You need to have proper coverage in your team though the Greek full-back as James Milner will probably play in that role now that everyone has a £4.0m defender to consider.


Midfielders:

Sorry to sound basic, but Mo Salah (LIV) and Bruno Fernandes (MUN) both have 50% plus ownership ahead of the deadline and will be the staple midfield duo in other half of everyone’s FPL squads.


Elsewhere, for Gameweek 1 I’d like to think that Kai Havertz (CHE) might have a good afternoon against Palace, whilst Saïd Benrahma (WHU) has had a productive pre-season for the Hammers. Mason Greenwood (MUN) is likely to start as a Forward for United against Leeds, whilst Emile Smith Rowe (ARS) is one of a very few cheap picks, so like Ivan Toney below, might be a default 4th or 5th choice midfielder in your teams – especially as most as facilitating for Salah and Bruno.


Forwards:

There are virtually NO budget options in attack. Ivan Toney (£6.5m) is the only default selection due to his goal-scoring exploits in the Championship last season. But who else is there? Maupay, Benteke, Pukki? It’s bleak to put it mildly. If you have one season of scoring 5-9 goals in the Premier League, you get out-priced which is a great shame. It seems now the game wants to reward middle-of-the-pack attackers, Adams (£7.0m), Wood (£7.0m) etc, with prices that don't justify their existence in the game.


Aside from the budget picks, the real standout picks this week are Danny Ings (AVL), Michail Antonio (WHU) against Newcastle, Patrick Bamford (LEE) and Jamie Vardy (LEI) – all Englishmen!


Gameweek 1 - FPL Captaincy Picks:

Essential: Mohamed Salah (LIV)

Alternative: Kai Havertz (CHE)


Other Gameweek Comments:

Most players in the game are painfully overpriced and my experience of selecting a Gameweek 1 team has been utterly miserable. There are far too many ‘mid-range’ attackers at £7.5m and more players at the £10.0m mark than ever before. The trend each year is that making a team has become a more unbearable process and this year is no different.


More so than ever before, this season needs a couple of cheap players to go on some monster form to make navigating the game more bearable as I’m not accepting the generic advice from commercialised ‘FPL’ accounts that tell us that the game has more player options than ever before. That’s just not true and are only ever saying it to you to take your money.


I’m seeing a lot of the same templated teams around from members of the fantasy football community, and that’s due to the rigid, inflated pricing structure of the game – but also a wider reality that the game’s inability to be flexible has caused a narrow path for its players to view the game and its assets.


If the route of inflated prices goes in this continued direction, the scoring system of the game just has to change. The Euro 2020 game utilised this, as does MLS Fantasy and Fantasy Bundesliga. If more players are hyped up on their starting price – there at some point has to be justification of this or you can’t start high and hope that they drop in price – as we know the powers that be at FPL titan towers control who goes up and down and love keeping prices high for some reason.


FPL Scout Picks: Gameweek 1

Formation: 4-3-3

Budget: £100.0m


Starting 11


GK: Emi Martinez (AVL)


DEF: Luke Shaw (MUN)

DEF: Konstantinos Tsimikas (LIV)

DEF: Joao Cancelo (MCI)

DEF: Lucas Digne (EVE)


MID: Bruno Fernandes (MUN)

MID: Mohamed Salah (LIV) – (C)

MID: Kai Havertz (CHE) – (VC)


FOR: Ivan Toney (BRE)

FOR: Danny Ings (AVL)

FOR: Michail Antonio (WHU)


Substitutes


GK: Ben Foster (WAT)

MID: Emile Smith-Rowe (ARS

DEF: Joel Veltman (BHA)

MID: Yves Bissouma (BHA)


Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in general football and Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

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The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

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